Century Marks

Century Marks

Election night worship

A grassroots movement is encouraging churches to do something together on election night to signify and embody their oneness in Christ: gather at church to hold communion around the Lord’s Table. Called Election Day Communion, this effort aims to build unity in Christ in spite of theological, political and denominational differences (electiondaycommunion.org).

Commandments 2.0

Adam Copeland has reframed the Ten Com­mandments to speak to the moral challenges of technology we use in our everyday life. The first commandment is: “You shall have no other gods, so don’t treat your cell phone like one.” The third is: “Honor the Sabbath day; give the gadgets a rest.” The fifth states: “You shall not kill, so of course you shall use the Internet for peace.” The seventh: “Steal neither goods nor time from yourself and others.” Technology is a gift, says Copeland, but a problematic and challenging one. Some families have a designated technology basket where cell phones and music players are placed during meals and other family times so as not to be distracted by them (Word & World, Summer).

SK and FDR

The late Howard A. Johnson, an Episcopal priest, theologian and Kierkegaard scholar, was invited to the White House near the end of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s life. Roosevelt picked his brain about Kierkegaard, since he had been told that Kierkegaard’s later writings helped to explain the rise of totalitarianism and Nazism. Frances Perkins, Roosevelt’s biographer, said that the hour-long conversation made an impression on Roosevelt, as he spoke of it often afterward. “I have never been able to make out why people who are obviously human beings could behave like that,” Roosevelt said, speaking of the Nazis. “They are human, yet they behave like demons. Kierkegaard gives you an understanding of what it is in man that makes possible for these Germans to be so evil” (Anglican Theological Review, Winter).

Shoppers’ choice

“Walmart Moms” are defined by the superstore chain as women with children 18 years of age or younger living at home and who shop at Walmart at least once a month. The Bentonville, Arkansas–based company studies this group very carefully, including their political leanings. President Obama won a majority of their votes in 2008, but their votes are up for grabs in 2012. Obama’s advantage with Walmart Moms drops dramatically in the battleground states that are likely to determine the outcome of the presidential election this fall (Bloomberg.com, August 2).

Past imperfect

David Barton’s historical revisionism about American history has been wildly popular with conservatives who want to believe, like Barton, that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and that the founding fathers did not share modern notions about the separation of church and state. Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and a Republican candidate for president in 2008, said he wished that every American could be made to listen to a telecast of David Barton lecturing, even if at gunpoint. However, Barton’s latest book, The Jefferson Lies, has drawn criticism not just from liberals or professional historians, his usual critics, but from a group of evangelical pastors, black and white, from Cincinnati. They called for a boycott of Barton’s publisher, Thomas Nelson, because the book seeks to justify Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of slaves and glosses over the third president’s racism and heretical views about Christ. Thomas Nelson has since pulled the book from the market (NPR, August 8, and World, August 9).